Plenty of people purchase a vehicle with no intention of making changes, or at least, if they want upgraded parts, accessories, or packages, they order them from the manufacturer as part of their initial purchase. There are some consumers, however, who want to make further modifications to personalize their vehicle.
Whether you want to soup up your engine with a turbocharger, add a lift kit or other suspension upgrades, or modify your exhaust system, you should know that certain changes could have an impact on your warranty. While cosmetic upgrades like adding neon lights to the undercarriage are unlikely to cause problems, altering the engine or suspension could be a completely different story.
How can you know if your planned modifications or the use of aftermarket parks will void your vehicle warranty? Here are a few things to consider before you make any major changes.
Will Aftermarket Parts Void My Warranty?
You're probably aware of common occurrences that are likely to void your warranty, such as skipping maintenance like regular fluid and filter changes that are necessary to prevent engine fouling. You may have also heard that installing aftermarket parts or making modifications can void the factory warranty, but is this true?
Not necessarily. The simple act of using aftermarket parts isn't generally enough, in and of itself, to void an entire factory warranty. What happens after you make modifications or install aftermarket parts, however, very well could. What does this mean?
Suppose you've installed a turbocharger to boost speed and acceleration. Then, at some point after you've installed it, you end up with a busted alternator or transmission problems. If your dealership determines that your aftermarket parts or modifications led to the problems you're experiencing, they will most likely not pay for repairs, even if they'd normally be covered by your warranty.
By the same token, they must honor your warranty if they can't prove that modifications were to blame. That said, don't expect them to pay for any repairs to aftermarket parts, as these are clearly not covered under the manufacturer warranty.
Misuse of Vehicle
While installing aftermarket parts isn't enough on its own to void your warranty, misuse of your vehicle—for racing or off-roading, for example—will automatically result in a voided warranty. Just because you modify your car doesn't mean you're behaving inappropriately, but it will raise red flags with your dealership, who may look for other signs that you're using your car in unapproved ways, and cite this as a reason to deny coverage and void the warranty.
Modifying your vehicle to suit your personal preferences may not automatically void your warranty, but you need to proceed with caution. If modifications are responsible for problems or you're using your car in ways inconsistent with the parameters of the warranty, you could end up voiding that warranty.